This is the regular period to which the accounts of a business or an organization are made up. When accounts are published, the period to which they refer must be stated and the beginning of one period should follow immediately upon the end of the preceding one. For a limited company, the period is normally one year. with certain exceptions, such as when the year end needs to be changed to bring trading periods of various members of a group of companies into line. Again, it is becoming common to use a 52- or 53-week year rather than a calendar year. As far as limited companies governed by the Companies Act 1985 are concerned, the period of accounting shall be known as the ‘accounting reference period’, and the date to which this period runs in each year shall be notified to the Registrar of Companies. If no contrary notification is made, then the relevant date will be 31 March of each year. There are also various provisions concerning notification of any change in the date of the end of the accounting reference period Penalties may be incurred by directors where these provisions are not observed.
Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.
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